Friday, September 15, 2023

Cooking with Salsa

Ok, I know that's not such a pretty picture, but the dish itself was verrry tasty. And so easy!

I'm back in the office 3x per week after a summer of only having to be in on Mondays. Working from home allows me to make a nice dinner most days, and I've been trying to cook more vegetarian food because we eat too much meat. For whatever reason, meat dishes seem far less complicated to make, so with my now-limited time, we'll be back to eating animal protein a couple times a week. If I'm lucky, I'll have some goodies stockpiled in the freezer, but once in a while I'm gonna make something from scratch, and it will need to be quick.

Introducing Salsa del Rio Chicken. 

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned how much I love Desert Pepper Trading Company salsas. Their Salsa del Rio, a thin green salsa made with green chiles and tomatillos makes a mighty fine white chili with the addition of meat and beans. It also works as a flavorful sauce for chicken thighs. It honestly doesn't need anything to zhuzh it up, but we had half a yellow bell pepper in the fridge, and I had just bought a bunch of fresh poblanos at the farmers' market. A quick sauté of peppers and onion, a jar of salsa, and skin-on chicken thighs tasted ridiculously good for being so easy. 

Salsa del Rio Chicken
I would use bone-in thighs, but boneless would be fine. However, the chicken skin is non-negotiable, as it adds so much flavor to the dish. If you don't want to eat it, take it off after cooking. I suppose, if you're one of those people who are afraid of fat and flavor, that you can use chicken breasts, but I cannot be held accountable if you overcook the things. 

Extra virgin olive oil
4 skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt
1 cup diced peppers, your choice between ripe bell peppers and poblanos (we used both)
1 cup diced onion 
1 jar Desert Pepper Salsa del Rio

Put a tablespoon-ish of oil in a large skillet and turn the heat on medium-high. Add the chicken skin-side-down, generously sprinkle it with salt, and cover the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes and check to see if the skin is browning. You can turn the heat up to high if you hang around and pay attention to the pan. If it starts smoking, turn down the heat. Once the chicken skin is a nice golden brown, remove from the pan and put the veg in. Add another sprinkle of salt and stir the veg to coat with the hot fat. Cover the pan and cook 5-6 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is turning translucent and the peppers are beginning to soften. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin-side-up and dump in about 2/3 of the jar of salsa. Cover the pan and bring the salsa to a boil, then turn down to a perky simmer. Cook about 30 minutes, or until a quick read thermometer registers at least 165F when inserted into the chicken. (Personally, I like my chicken thighs really cooked, so I'll go to 185-190F.) 

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